Learn Calligraphy: The Complete Book of Lettering and Design (Anglais) Broché – 20 février 2001
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One thing she does not do is to cover every hand imaginable. There are lots of books like that out there. Rather, she only covers a small number of hands, but covers them very thoroughly, with a special eye to us novices. For example, once I got the basic hands down, I found one of my main problems was spacing the letters. Nothing looks worse than inconsistent horizontal spacing. She gives good coverage to this important issue, for example suggesting that you step back and look at it from a distance. Try it - if you're a novice, you'll be surprised at how different (and maybe bad) it looks.
I also very much enjoy the samples of projects that she shows as examples of how to apply each hand. In this she highlights the talents of (I assume) her friends, and it adds to the book. Looking at alphabet after alphabet as is done in typical calligraphy books, you don't get a good feel for how you'd use each one, and variations you can apply. Her other book "Calligraphy Projects for Pleasure and Profit" (which I also have) gives you lots more along these lines, but the ones in this book are different and I find them just as valuable.
I even like the way she letters the whole book in her (what she admits is slightly idiosyncratic) italic hand. You want examples - there's a whole book-length example. I don't agree with the other reviewer that this detracts from the book. It's as if she does it because it's fun - an important thing to remember when you're doing the drudgery of straight lines or circles.
The only tiny drawback, if it is one, is that the book doesn't contain a lot that is good to know about techniques of setting up a drawing table, selling, etc. For that (as well as an excellent chapter on type design by Hermann Zapf himself), the book "Calligraphy and Illumination" provides more than you ever wanted to know. I don't think that book replaces this one, however. I find Margaret's explanations well worth the small amount this book costs, and she is much more complete. She'll even autograph it for you (see her web site for details).
This is a wonderful book that every calligraphy student should have. If you can only have one, this is it.
I think this is the best of the starter books. Very easy and a fun read too!